Kids being kids, means kids getting dirty. And that means stains.
A disadvantage of stain treatment on kids clothes is that you can't typically treat the stain right after it happens (especially if it happens at school or while you're out and about), which makes them much more difficult to remove because thay are likely to dry and set in.
That is why knowing the right way to treat these stains safely and effectively once you do get the chance is so crucial. It is important to get your children’s clothes clean and get the stains out, but it is just as important to make sure you are using the right techniques so you don’t damage the garments or put your children at risk.
And of course, always read the manufacturers care instructions first.
1. MUD / DIRT
Allow the mud to dry and then remove as much material as you can by bushing with a brush or fingers.
Apply a small amount of detergent and water and rub fabric together in order to create suds.
Rinse and then apply a 50% vinegar solution (1 part vinegar, 1 part water) and wash normally, typically warm or hot water will work best.
For tough stains, you can use chlorine or oxygen bleach in place of the vinegar if it is safe for fabric.
2. SOFT DRINKS / JUICES
Rinse or soak the garment in cool water to remove as much of the stain as possible.
Treat with small amount of detergent or stain fighter and rub fabric together.
Allow to sit for 10-20 minutes and wash in hottest water possible.
For tough stains, add chlorine or oxygen bleach to the wash if it is safe for fabric.
3. TEXTAS / INK
Washable markers are often used in schools, and luckily these will wash out without stain treatment, just launder as normal. (To test if marker stain is washable, dampen a cotton swab with water and rub the stain. Washable marker will bleed onto the swab almost immediately.)
Permanent markers and ballpoint pen ink are more difficult to remove.
Place the garment on a few layers of paper towel.
Add rubbing alcohol, hairspray, orange oil or other cleaning fluids to the stain drop wise and then blot with additional layers of paper towel.
You should see the stain transfer to the towels.
Move to a clean area and repeat the process until all the ink has been removed.
Once the visible stain is gone, treat with a small amount of detergent and launder garment as normal to remove the alcohol.
- Apply stain treater directly to stain and rub fabric together.
- Wash with regular laundry.
If stain persists treat with diluted white vinegar (1 part vinegar one part water)to remove remaining colour and wash again.
Most paints used in school are water based. Children are unlikely to use oil based paints in the classroom, so here will only be discussing latex paints.
Many finger paints and school paints are considered “washable” but still require pre-treatment with either detergent or a stain treater followed by a wash in the hottest water possible.
ONLY USE HOT WATER IF YOU KNOW THE PAINT IS WASHABLE otherwise you are more likely to set the stain. If you are unsure, use cold water instead. If discoloration remains, soaking in colour-safe, chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach and re-washing may be required.
Tempera and latex paint can be extremely difficult to remove once they have dried.
The first thing you want to do is remove as much of the paint as possible scraping it off with either a stiff wire brush, spoon, or butter knife, taking care not to damage the fabric.
You can rinse the fabric under cold water to help with this removal process (never use hot water, it can set the stain).
Next, create a soaking solution (1-2 Tbsp of detergent or dish soap in a gallon of cold water) and add garment, making sure to keep stain completely submerged.
Allow to soak for 30-60 minutes in order to soften the paint.
After soaking, use a sponge or brush to work a little additional detergent or stain treater into the stain and rub the fabric between your fingers to physically disrupt the stain.
Rinse and repeat this process until the stain has been removed.
Wash in cold water.